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August 20, 2019

6/22/2019 7:29:00 AM
Mayor seeks to form ad hoc committee on property, infrastructure
Heather Schaefer and Jamie Taylor


Rhinelander Mayor Chris Frederickson is looking for persons interested in serving on a new ad hoc committee that will review property and infrastructure projects in the city.

Frederickson is set to present a draft resolution to the Common Council Monday outlining his proposal for the creation of the committee.

According to a copy of the draft resolution obtained by the River News, Frederickson would like the committee to consist of himself, one elected member of the Common Council, and at least one, but no more than three citizen members. 

In a June 17 post on the Rhinelander City Hall Facebook page, city administrator Daniel Guild said interested alderpersons and citizens can submit their names to either himself or Frederickson via letter. This letter should include "any professional, technical, or educational experiences which might be applicable to the work of this ad hoc committee," the post reads.

"The ad hoc committee is basically for suggestions on what's going on, so picking civic members that are interested and informed on the issues is the idea," Frederickson said, when asked to explain why he is looking to include private citizen members.

According to the draft resolution, the committee would be empowered "to receive presentations, hear reports, prepare recommendations, and suggest action to the Common Council on matters related to the administration of the operations of the public works department, including topics related to bicycle lanes and trails, building and facilities, capital project financing, capital project planning, construction, management, engineering, pedestrian accommodations and sidewalks, stormwater collection, street maintenance and reconstruction, streetscaping, water/wastewater collection and distribution, wastewater treatment plant management."

The Committee would not be empowered to consider financial and personnel matters within its scope, the resolution notes.

In addition, the committee would not have "special powers or abilities separate from the Council, nor does the Council intend to delegate any of its special decision-making responsibilities to this ad hoc committee."

According to the draft resolution, the committee would meet "twice per month, but not less than once per month, on the first and third Tuesdays of every month, at 4 p.m., on the second floor of City Hall, which includes the dates of July 16, Aug 6, August 20, September 3, September 17, October 8, October 22, November 5, and November 19 after which the mandate for the ad hoc committee will expire, unless otherwise renewed by the Council."

Council president George Kirby shared his opinion on the possibility that the committee could consist of more private citizens than elected officials.

"The way the committee should be formed is we should have three members of the council and not one," Kirby said. "The council should have more say in this ad hoc committee and not the citizens of Rhinelander. The council is the ones that represent the city and I believe we should have more say and not the citizens of Rhinelander."

Alderman Lee Emmer questioned the fifth paragraph of the draft resolution which states that the "Common Council directs the City Administrator to assign staff support to the committee's activities, including its various Engineering consultant(s), Parks Director, Public Works Director, Street Foreman, Water Foreman, Wastewater Foreman, and any other City employee and/or consultant, or other subject matter expert whose work and technical expertise would contribute to the Committee's work."

"I think that leaves all the control of the ad hoc committee with Daniel. And I think that if the ad hoc committee is going to be put in place for, I think it is for four or five months, you have to look at item six. The intent of forming the ad hoc committee was to have it formed for the duration of the Stevens Street project, which is a three-year project. Those are my two biggest contentions with it. I don't particularly have a problem with the mayor and one elected official and one to three citizens being the ad hoc committee. I think that's somewhat in the range of what it should be. If it gets too big, you have a big problem with it, if it gets too small, you don't have enough diversification of opinion."

Guild offered the following response to Emmer's comment regarding control of the committee.

"I disagree with his perception of the resolution and I think that a closer analysis of the document would clear up any misperception," Guild said.

Emmer was not concerned about including citizen members on the committee.

"I think it's a good thing to have laypeople get involved with it," he said. "I think you originally see that Tim Kingman (the city's public works director who has been on "non-disciplinary" administrative leave since June 3) was supposed to have input on the selection, and the situation that is going on, he doesn't have any input. I think possibly the mayor soliciting a contractor might be helpful. But maybe some private citizen contractors will apply and be selected. I don't know who is going to want a spot on that, I'm hoping some professional type people are going to want to do it. But I also think that having a layperson in there is definitely needed also."

In a phone interview, Frederickson defended the proposed makeup of the committee.

"If you look at what an ad hoc committee does, it just makes suggestions that are moved forward, no different than even the committees," Frederickson said. "But the committees before blanketedly (sic) had support once it went through because it had because you had X amount of council members. This is where we are trusting other opinions to come forward to make better decisions."

Names/letters are due by 10 a.m. Wednesday, July 3 for full consideration and appointment selection at the regular common council meeting scheduled for July 8.

Also Monday, the council is expected to review an updated proposed ATV/UTV ordinance and discuss whether to move forward with the Hodag Park improvement project.

Materials related to the ATV/UTV ordinance can be found at http://bit.ly/ATVsUTVs.

Documents related to the Hodag Park project are located at http://bit.ly/HodagPark, according to the City Hall Facebook page.

A full agenda for Monday's meeting is posted on the city website, http://www.rhinelandercityhall.org. The meeting is scheduled to begin at 6 p.m. at City Hall.





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